Microsoft has announced today that it won't have a major presence at CES after this coming show, CES 2012, which kicks off in a little over two weeks' time. Though company reps will still take meetings with partners, there won't be a Microsoft-led keynote — long a staple of the show — nor will there be a booth on the show floor.
In a post on Microsoft's official blog, the company's communications VP Frank Shaw says that its "product news milestones generally don't align with the show's January timing." It's a line that Apple has long taken, having pulled out of Macworld several years ago to focus on its own events; indeed, Microsoft now hosts a number of significant conferences of its own every year including MIX and BUILD, both venues that it has used recently to make major announcements.
Shaw closes his post by saying "we look forward to working with CEA for many years to come," so this isn't an outright "goodbye" to an organization with which Microsoft has worked for over two decades, it's just a significant scaling back at the Association's premiere event. It's difficult to imagine CES without a Gates or Ballmer keynote at this point — is the age of the mega trade show drawing to a close?